The single influence that parents could have on their offspring’s personality is biological in nature. Their children inherit their genes. The trait theories suggest that parent-child interactions will have carry no significant weight upon the child’s character development. In summary, trait theorists do not usually expound on character development as opposed to the vast number of theories that attempt to further comprehend personality growth. The prediction of an individual’s behavior is also not a particular goal for trait theorists.
Distinct from other theoretical approaches, trait theorists concentrate on the comparison of people’s traits based on aspects and degrees. Also, the trait theory does not essentially present a means to change or modify personality. Psychoanalytic theory Psychoanalytic theories analyze human behavior using the interaction of different components that contribute to personality. Freud provided a comprehensive psychosexual theory that stressed on the sexual gratification of children.
Ignoring the notion of youthful purity, Freud declares that human beings are born having uninhibited basic natures that become subdued by societal expectation. Freud supposed that the intrinsic desire for pleasure focuses on particular erogenous regions of the body as represented by the stages of psychosexual development: oral, anal, phallic, latent and genital. During psychosexual development the child’s pleasure involved activities shift from biting and sucking for the mouth, toilet training for the anus, and lastly to playing with the genitals. Freud breaks up human personality into 3 major components- id, ego, and super ego.
Id is governed by the pleasure principle, demanding instant gratification of needs without consideration of its external and social environment. The ego must then step in to satisfy the needs of the id in adherence to the ‘reality principle’ which considers the external environment. The super ego is responsible for instilling societal rules and moral standards to the ego which compels the id’s demands to be met realistically and morally. Super ego is the last component of personality to be developed. It is the representation of parental and societal upbringing established throughout childhood.
Freud maintains that personality is dependent upon the dynamic relationships between the three components (Carver & Scheier, 2004). Sigmund Freud believed that basic urges residing within the id push all children through universal stages of psychosexual development, starting with the oral stage of infancy and finishing with the genital stage of adolescence. Freud did not envision psychosexual growth continuing on to adulthood. He assumed that personality was already formed after the initial 5 years of life and did not change significantly afterward.
Anxieties resulting from callous or overindulgent parenting, along with traumatic incidents and poor experiences would leave an indelible mark upon an individual’s character and be revealed in studying the adult’s personality traits (Sigelman and Rider, 2008). Most noted in Freud’s theory is the ‘Oedipus complex’, allegedly, there is a collection of mostly unconscious and actively repressed thoughts and feelings that revolve around the yearning to have the parent of opposite sex and remove the parent with the same sex as the child (Rycroft, 1995).
According to traditional psychoanalytic theory, this complex generally manifests itself between 3 to 5 years of age, during what is called the ‘oedipal phase’ of ego and libido development. Orthodox theory maintains that the resolution of the ‘Oedipal conflict’ occurs during the child’s identification with the same-sex parent along with the momentary repudiation of the opposite-sex parent. The parent of the opposite sex then once again becomes the individual’s sexual preference.
Moreover, the orthodox theory claims that people who are caught in the oedipal stage become ‘parent-fixated’ and choose sexual partners who are perceptible replacements for the parent they have fixated on (Rycroft, 1995). Like Freud, Erik Erikson concerned himself with the inner dynamics of personality and proposed that the personality evolves through systematic stages that confront people with different challenges.
Erikson placed more emphasis on social influences such as peers, teachers and cultures; the rational ego and its adaptive powers; possibilities for overcoming the effects of harmful early experiences and the potential for growth during the adult years. (Sigelman and Rider, 2008) Erik Erikson with his psychosocial developmental theory upholds that people come across a particular crisis at different stages of development. For instance, during the first stage of growth, children encounter the crisis of ‘trust vs. mistrust’. The child must experience and come to understand trust in different conditions and relationships.
This establishes the belief that the world is generally a pleasant place to be in (Papalia et al. , 2002). At this age, the toddler mainly interacts with parents, thus, they become the chief source of trust and mistrust in the toddler’s life. When parents establish a supportive and sympathetic relationship with their offspring, then the child resolves the crisis and acquires the positive asset of hope. Another is Erikson’s ‘identity vs. identity diffusion’ crisis that occurs during adolescence, where the person must be allowed to try interactions and activities before committing to an identity.
Erikson declares that parents have to permit their child to have options. It is also imperative that the parents do not force their children into relationships or careers, the choices should be made by the child independently (Papalia, Olds and Feldman, 2003). From this point of view, parents play a large role in identity attainment, if they do not allow their child independence, then he/she will not be able to resolve the crisis successfully. A secure relationship between the child and parents has a positive influence upon the individual’s own romantic engagement and peer interactions.
Consequently, the hereditary element of the individual that the parents endow them with is only one facet of their influence on the person’s growth. The external environment the child is exposed to is particularly significant in the psychosocial development of the child. Trait theorists believe that personal qualities are fairly long-term: similar to psychoanalytic theorists, they assume to see some carryover in personality as time passes. Although unlike psychoanalysts, they do not consider personality to unfold in a succession of stages (Sigelman & Rider, 2008) Resources Carver, C. , & Scheier, M. (2004).
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